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California Blames Wildfire on 5 Men

LOS ANGELES (CN) - California demands $7.7 million from five men who allegedly started the Corral Fire in Malibu State Park, which destroyed 53 homes, damaged 35, burned 4,900 acres for forced the evacuation of 14,000 people in November 2007. The state claims the men started a campfire in a part area known as "the cave," then kicked the embers into dry brush on a day with hot Santa Ana winds.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection sued William Thomas Coppock, Brian Alan Anderson, Brian Franks, Eric Ullman, and Dean Allen Lavorant, all of California, in Superior Court. It claims they started at campfire at "the cave," a rock outcropping 20 to 30 feet above the surrounding ground, then kicked the hot embers into the brush below.

The CDF says it spent at least $7,728,362 fighting the fire. It seeks damages for negligence and violations of the Health and Safety Code, and costs.

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